What are microwaves and how are they different from radio waves?

Microwaves are radio waves with a very high frequency, which makes them very short, hence the “micro” in microwave.

On your radio dial, you’d hear your microwave oven broadcasting at 2,500 megahertz, if your radio dial actually went that high. It doesn’t, 108 megahertz is the highest a standard radio picks up.

A megahertz, by the way, is a million cycles a second.

Other radio-controlled devices that you won’t hear on your radio dial include garage door openers (40 megahertz), baby monitors (about 49 megahertz), remote-controlled airplanes and cars (72-75 megahertz), televisions (54-88 megahertz for channels 2-6; 174-220 megahertz for channels 7-13; 470-890 megahertz for channels 14-83), and cell phones (824-849 megahertz).

TV remotes don’t use radio waves and shoot a beam of infrared light instead.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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